If the answer is yes, go check out Malin’s amazing posts on Maddie Aflame! They’re beautifully perceptive about the series and I’m really honored by them. Some tasters:
What I especially love about Maddie Aflame!, is that it features something that’s been largely lacking in erotic literature—queer-centered, empowering, inclusive portrayals of characters in their late teens and early twenties. Young adulthood is a challenge, even more so for people who may not conform to societal norms. The fact that Lana Fox tackles those issues here, and did it without sacrificing the book’s compulsive readable-ness is, quite frankly, fucking impressive. Like I said, I’m a fan.
The antagonists go to great lengths, including kidnapping, murder, and torture, to impose a rigidly traditional social structure on the populace. And yet, beneath that structure, individual people reject conformity in favor of boundless self-acceptance and love. It’s that sense fluidity (in gender and emotional / sexual relationships) that ultimately helps our heroes counter the rigid traditions that threaten them.
And then there’s the sentient mansion. While I don’t want to give too much away, it’s a metaphorical masterstroke that deserves a mention. The mansion, which, for all intents and purposes should be just a normal house, is a feeling, sensing thing, more creature than building, cognitively speaking, as it responds to the emotional state of its occupants. Like magic, tech and ghosts, the mansion bridges a gap and blurs the line between expectation and form to defy its own weaponization, making it not only a compelling character in its own right, but a powerful metaphor for the breaking of traditional worldviews in favor of wider possibility.
She has Combustion Syndrome, a disease that, when triggered, causes her body to combust from the inside out. While the ability to heal is part of the Syndrome, episodes leave her burned and weak, and are, quite honestly, a little terrifying … As Maddie progresses through the book, she learns to stop fearing the disease and draw strength from it. Sex plays a large role in this.
Thanks a million, Malin! And folks, please go and check out Malin’s own work. She is a huge talent! She posts stunning erotica and beautiful commentary on her blog and she also publishes widely with a variety of presses.
What’s not to love?
To read in more depth about the forthcoming Maddie Aflame! (coming 10/03) please check out these beautiful posts from the amazing Malin James: “On Queer Marginalization” and “On Conformity and Defiance“. They are simply amazing! I couldn’t be more honored.
When I was a kid, my father bought me a magic set for Christmas. Because he’d been a magician himself, performing at children’s parties etc., he helped me with a lot of the tricks. The one I remember most vividly was a plastic plate with a slot under the rim where you could stash a coin. By tipping that plate towards an empty hand you could seemingly make it appear out of nothing! I loved making things appear from nowhere. The first time I used that plate, I shrieked with laughter. If only gold coins really would appear from nowhere! Wouldn’t that just be dandy!
In Maddie Aflame! there is such a thing as vapor tech and that in itself seems like a magic trick at first. Vapor tech comes to light once ghosts have arrived in England, floating down the streets or through their loved ones’ living rooms, for a reason that remains a mystery for now. These ghosts are formed of vapors, as all spirits in Maddie’s world are, including the spirits humans have inside ourselves. That’s why ghosts communicate psychically, speaking from their spirits to ours, their words appearing in our heads as if by magic. Out of vapor tech, comes bubblemail, as Maddie’s Scottish friend explains:
“So!” Pike held up the white tube. “This is a brand new invention.” He sucked on the end of the tube before placing the dry end to his lips and closing his eyes. After a moment, he puffed air into the tube and a bubble started to form. He puffed and puffed and the bubble grew until it was the size of a small orange, and then, with one final puff, he blew the bubble free.
It floated straight towards me, as if a strong breeze had sent it on its way, then it kept on dancing in front of my face like it was trying to get my attention.
“Maddie!” Pike called, pushing his glasses up his nose. “Reach out an’ pop it! Pop it! Go on!”
When I did, the bursting bubble exclaimed in Pike’s own voice, “Maddie, in a place where there’s neh cell phones nor internet, bubblemail still works.”
“Oh my God!” I gasped.
Aud’s jaw had dropped. She said, “Pike, that’s amazing.”
Pike beamed with pleasure. “It works up tae four hundred meters! An’ it’s just a tube! Easy tae hide. Sometimes, the bubble doesnae pop, but you can pop it, nae problem.”
–From Maddie Aflame! which launches 10/3/16!
Maddie lives in England, but not as we know it. Now being queer is illegal there, and a young person can suffer from an illness known as Combustion Syndrome. The trick with C.S., when it gets bad? Let out what’s inside, if you can.
Truth was, if Dad had fully accepted that I was queer, he’d have told me to hide who I was because my safety was always number one for him. That’s why he told me to avoid coming out about my Combustion Syndrome. But whenever I fought my flames and tried to keep them at bay, they only erupted twice as fiercely….
Suppress your flames, and they’ll only grow stronger. Let them out, and you’re likely to survive….
Hat tip to J.K. Rowling, who inspired me to write Maddie Aflame! — a Harry Potter type series, but with erotic scenes, for queer and/or sex-positive adults.
Maddie Aflame! (Book One: The Swallowing Mansion) releases in the first week of October, 2016. To receive updates about the series release, please join the Go Deeper Press email list. There’s even a freebie included.
Image: From the Crystal Wind Oracle Card Deck
One thing I adore about J.K. Rowling, who wrote the quote that is pictured on the left, is her understanding of love. She understands that if love was magic it would protect a parent’s child from being killed by a curse. And she understands that true love is the choice to act on the light, rather than the darkness. I think she also understands the importance of the shadow. We only have to look at Severus Snape to see how deeply Rowling cherishes his darkness and how he channels it for the good of the world. That is love indeed.
If I’d have understood earlier in my life that love, like magic, can flow in all directions, including towards the self, I’d have been happier far sooner. Thinking of love as magic helps me. Why would you deprive your own life of spells? Why would you only shower others with the gift? Surely performing magic in your own life means you’ll be more capable and able to help others. Love, like magic, isn’t something that should only flow in one direction. Neither does it change one life then fail to touch another. But when you first learn that you can love yourself, it can be scary to do so, especially if you’ve been taught that self-love is selfish.
Fear, however, is the anti-magic. It has a habit of blocking our light.
In Maddie Aflame! (the erotic fantasy series is launching in September), which is humbly conceived as a Harry Potter for readers of erotica — humbly is the word — I really wanted magic to be fueled by love. Maddie’s mother, who visits her as a spirit, teaches her the true nature of magic, while Maddie and her polyamorous friends are trapped in a magical mansion that is being used to experiment on queers. Maddie’s mother tells her:
“Fear is the anti-magic. Fear only creates itself. Love and peace, on the other hand, make magic faster and bigger.”
What Maddie’s mother has truly been trying to teach her, however, is that Maddie is magical. But as a sufferer of Combustion Syndrome, a condition in which she explodes into flames, Maddie can’t see the magic in herself — the magic in her fire.
“Love is magic,” says her mother. “And so my dear are you.”
When Maddie finds out what that truly means, she becomes more powerful than she’d ever imagined.
And, by loving ourselves, my friends, so can we.
As I wrap up my final drafts of Maddie Aflame!, I’m thinking in all sorts of ways about fire. I love that this element can be destructive, but also inspirational, lighting, warming, protective, cleansing. Fire is often used in rites of passage — walking or leaping through fiery hoops has been a part of many traditions, including the Celtic festival of Beltane, partly because it is thought to purify and leave the old behind. More than that, without fire, would we have survived as a species? And without passion, which is so often synonymous with flames, how deeply would our lives be changed? One thing I know for sure: many years ago, at a time in my life when I couldn’t feel passion for anything, I considered ending my life.
Fire, of course, often refers to sexual passion, and it intrigues me that folks also literally play with fire during sex. Fire play isn’t something I’d ever want to try (I suffered from second degree burns as a teenager and that’s enough for me!), but I love that there are those brave souls who choose to deal with Kevlar floggers and pens. Check out this intriguing post from SehAnru at SubmissiveGuide.com.
The following quotes challenge me to think about fire in all sorts of ways. Enjoy, and let me know if you’ve any fire quotes of your own, okay?
“What is to give light must endure burning.” –Viktor Frankl
“To hell, to hell with balance! I break glasses; I want to burn, even if I break myself. I want to live only for ecstasy. I’m neurotic, perverted, destructive, fiery, dangerous — lava, inflammable, unrestrained.” –Anais Nin
“Erupting into flames really sucks, Maddie. I don’t know how you cope with your condition. To go up like tinder when you feel things strongly? The very idea slays me. But sweetheart, in a world where so much is iced over, where rejection can make us freeze and shatter like ice in a jar, warmth has to be worth the risk, doesn’t it? When we feel, we’re alive. When we don’t, we’re numb. And numb’s useful sometimes, but it’s no way to live. The flames have to be worth it — they are, aren’t they? Tell me the flames are worth it, Maddie. Tell me. God, please.”
The above words are from Aud to her friend and lover Maddie in Maddie Aflame! Obviously, I can’t promise Maddie Aflame! will be as amazing as Harry Potter (!) but it’s an exciting aim to write a sex-positive Harry Potter for queers and our allies, and also for poly folks, sex-positive folks, those who suffer from chronic illness, and all who know how it feels to be different. It feels important to try and write this. So I humbly continue, with JK’s inspiration firmly in mind.
I know life is hard for so many of us right now. I know there’s a lot to face. But you are beautiful.
The flames are worth it. This I believe.
Love them any way you can.
P.S. Yesterday was the Orlando shooting. (I’m updating this post today). I am sending love and light to everyone who has experienced or been touched by the pain, the horror, the tragedy of those terrible events. So much of this world is in need of healing. If only our flames could purge the hate.
Image: Angel Dreams Oracle Cards (Doreen Virtue). Click here or on image to purchase deck.
Pic from the Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck – click the image to view on Amazon.
Sex can be hard to define if you look at it deeply. I first became aware of this thanks to Greta Christina’s wonderful post “Are We Having Sex Now or What?” in which Christina elegantly shows us that what is sex for one person might not be for the next. I have a theory that one reason sex seems so easy to shame in our society is because many of us have a twisted idea of what it is — and what it “should” be.
So what would a building do if it was sexual?
It’s an honest question and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. In Maddie Aflame!, my forthcoming erotic fantasy series, a group of polyamorous, queer British teenagers are swallowed by a mysterious mansion that turns out to be conscious and alive, and capable of creation. It transpires that the Mansion is being used to cruelly research and control queer folks in a society where queerness is illegal. But as the friends soon find out, the Mansion can be communicated with from within — more with feelings than words.
As I keep writing about Maddie, the hero of Maddie Aflame, I remember all those who helped inspire her. Today: thank you, Rumi for the beautiful words above. And here’s a sensual snippet from Maddie Aflame, when flames really are being fanned:
While I licked Aud’s right nipple, making her moan as it stiffened, I held her left breast in my hand, which was now only slightly sore and pink from yesterday’s flames. Her cool skin soothed my palm, and feeling the weight of that smooth, taut flesh was enough to make me throb between my thighs.
The fifth in a series of fire-themed posts about passion, illness, identity, and adventure, in celebration of the forthcoming erotic novel series, MADDIE AFLAME! You can find the first post here and other Maddie Aflame! posts here.
Fire burns us and inspires us. Fire can kill us, but also cleanse us. When I think of fiery pain, I remember the stuff that makes us yell or double up. When I think about fiery sex, I dream of sex that is passionate and brave. But what if the fire we felt during pain and passion was accompanied by real flames?
One night, when I was a kid living near London, my mother accidentally left the back door unlocked. I went to bed that Saturday with a song in my heart because five fresh cream cakes were sitting on the sideboard, set out for guests the following day. (Damn, did I love cream! Still do!) But that Sunday, we awoke to upturned furniture, drawers emptied, and my mother’s handbag nowhere to be seen. […]
Read the rest of this post here: Go Deeper Press Protected by Flames (Aflame Post 3) » Go Deeper Press
Pictured left: Oracle card by Josephine Wall — click the pic for her website.